First, you can mulch leaves and grass clippings right where they are.  Use the leaves on your garden or landscaped areas, or leave both the mulched leaves and grass on your lawn. Most mowers today have mulching capabilities. The best way to break up the leaves is to mow over them, shredding them and distributing the leaves evenly over the grass.  

Benefit of mulching:  1) Improves your soil/soil fertility.  2) It can help suppress weeds the following season – as much as 80% or more! 3) Aids trees and regulates moisture 4) Provides habitat and food:  Leaves are home to critters ranging from turtles and toads to birds, mammals, and invertebrates that rely on leaf litter for food, shelter, and nesting material. Many butterfly caterpillars overwinter in fallen leaves before emerging in Spring. There are many additional environmental and health benefits that take place when we forego burning or sending these materials to a landfill.   

How to: Make sure the sun can reach the grass. You do not want piles that are too thick and prevent sunlight from getting through and retain moisture that will kill the grass underneath.  As noted, most mowers today have mulching capabilities. The best way to mulch is to mow over the leaves, shredding them and distributing them evenly over the grass. Make sure you can see the grass with about 10-20% leaf coverage. You can rake remaining around your trees and shrubs in three- to-six-inch piles to help nourish them or throw the mulch in your garden or flower beds.